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How to make collaboration easy for introverts


10 November 2016

Global Services

Blogs by author: Global Services, We’re a leading global business communications provider


Collaboration’s often easier for extroverts. But almost half of your office are introverts — so it’s vital you don’t lose out on their contribution.

An introvert’s environment.

Open-plan offices are the extrovert’s playground. They love the stimulation. The noise helps them focus. They enjoy speaking with lots of different people. And plenty of distractions give them the social breathing space they need — so they return to work with renewed energy and focus.

But this isn’t so for the introvert.

For introverts, the open-plan office is a minefield of annoying interruptions which prevent them from focusing properly on their tasks. It’s full of distracting noise, pointless small talk and a lack of space and privacy for them to develop their best ideas, solve problems and build meaningful relationships with colleagues.

Using technology to encourage collaboration.

But, even though introverts don’t always work at their best in these bustling environments, they’re a productive, deadline-focused, disciplined and creative segment of the workforce. So it’s vital you adapt your workplace practices to encourage them to share their ideas and work to their full potential. There are a number of ways to achieve this.

1. Work from home.

Whilst you can’t always bring the introvert’s environment to the office, you can let them take their work home. Putting technology in place to support flexible working helps introverts to focus. And that means they have the space they need to develop great ideas, which they can then bring back to the office to share.

2. Share presentations and notes.

Introverts are great listeners. And they think before they speak. So asking whether people have ideas or feedback straight away at the end of a presentation means you’re really only asking the extroverts. Introverts typically need to digest information before they put together considered and meaningful feedback.

A better way to encourage collaboration is to share the presentation and make it editable — so everyone can make notes, give feedback and query things. This lets introverts go away, analyse the information properly and think about their response before they submit it, so you’re getting their best inputs.

3. Encourage an equal voice.

Smaller focus groups and document-based collaborations (that don’t require lots of meetings) let introverts get on with the task at hand. It also means they don’t have to sit through small talk or fight to be heard over excited extroverts. So they’re able to be as productive, creative and analytical as they can — which is better for the project and the business overall.

The collaboration conundrum.
BT has the technologies to make all of these ways of working a reality. The best workplaces use technology to get everyone, introvert and extrovert, working together and sharing their best ideas. Whether that’s through conference calls or collaborative documents, we can help.

Have a read of the Collaboration Conundrum white paper for more on making the most of your workforce.